Looking Back, Looking Forward

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Johnson City Market Days Recap

This past weekend was our first time to attend the Johnson City Market as vendors, and overall, it was a success! We sold so many “big” things, like the crosses and antler jewelry holders, as well as sold out completely of two tea towels! We also got a couple new blog subscribers (welcome!!).

The folks that put on the market in JC were super kind and super helpful, and I definitely would like to give it another go, perhaps when it isn’t 99 degrees, though?

 

New Things!

So as usual, we like to roll out the “same” things that everyone loves: porch signs, wreaths, etc., but with different color schemes and such. For JC, I made three new wreaths: two for fall, and one year-round made with barbed wire, lace, and book paper roses:

 

I also made two more porch signs, one of which (WELCOME) used wood from the stadium:

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Mom FINALLY got her BEAUTIFUL paintings out there. She used her students’ canvases that they didn’t want, and repurposed them to suit her own creativity:

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Also, we’re going to slowly but most surely introduce more do-it-yourself or do-with-it-what-you-will junk: bottle caps, barbed wire, plain antlers, and junk bags.

Junk bags, as I call them, are bags filled with scrap pieces of metal, nuts and bolts, pieces of bone, springs, keys, bottle caps, bullet casings, and other crap for people to get and create things for themselves using what otherwise would have been buried in the dirt. More on that soon!

 

Next Show:

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Best of the Blog

For those of you just joining in…

I’ve been writing every week since November, and so far, nearly 2000 people have joined in. These last few weeks I’ve had several people show an interest, so here are my favorite ones to get you started:

Porch Signs

Stadium to Momento

Warrenton: Markets in Texas

Top 5 Texas Hill Country State Parks & Natural Areas

Porch Signs

How I make outdoor porch signs.

CANVA Porch Signs

I wish so badly that I had a porch. Like a wooden porch with steps, a swing, pretty railings and columns, a fancy front door, tables and chairs, all that stuff.

Why do I wish I had a porch? Aside from the fact that I’d love to spend my mornings on that swing?

Because I could do so. Much. Serious. Decorating.  Front porch displays are what I spend hours thinking about. I wish that was a joke.

So many of my front porch fantasies involve rustic elements, like tin and wood, so to bring that to life, I made (well, make) these signs:

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All of these signs are made with barn wood and/or ridge row that my dad and I go out and get from my grandpa’s or uncle’s land. My uncle and his friend own a bunch of land in the town over from my hometown, and he let us have at it. There’s on pasture in particular that had some knocked down structures that were perfect. When I saw the torn down house, with that minty-colored paint, I heard angels sing.

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To be clear, we don’t go tearing people’s barns and houses down. These are structures that are vacant, aren’t used, or have already been or are about to be torn down. Knocking down those empty, decades-old barns is probably the only good thing Hurricane Harvey did for us. Another great example is the wood I got from my fifth-grade teacher. Harvey knocked her fence down, so she offered me the wood. 

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So anyway, I have seen similar signs on Pinterest, and I thought they were either crazy expensive (which they can be) or really difficult to make (which they are not).

I will say, these require some bigger equipment, but aside from that, they are a piece of cake. Let’s do this.

Let’s start with the wood, because it is literally the backbone of your project.

If you are using untreated wood, you have to treat it. That’s where your oil, like teak oil, comes in. Make sure you brush both sides and the edges. If you don’t, the wood will crack. If you’re using something like old barn wood, you don’t have to treat it because it should already be treated. I do recommend spraying it down with that clear spray paint or decoupage to help set any paint that’s on it. It’ll help (a little) to keep it from chipping more.

Next, cut it to the length that you need for it to fit your word. If it’s wide enough, you are set; however, if you are having to put two or three boards together to make it wide enough to fit your letters and/or tin, just remember to put a board behind those cross-ways that’s the width of your boards when they’re together. That’s common sense, but I feel like I have to say it anyway as a reminder.

Screw all these pieces together or use the nail gun.

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Now that your backboard is made, put your tin over it, if you’re using it. Cut it to size and then screw/nail it on.

 

Lastly, add the letters! By now, you should have painted the letters whatever color you wanted and spray it with that spray paint or decoupage to protect the paint. I sometimes like to distress the letters by sanding them down in places to make them look old and worn.

Using your measuring tape, center the letters and space them out evenly. When you have them where you want them, screw/nail them down. You must secure them in all the .major places of the letter to keep the wood from curling up.

 

All that’s left to do is put it on your porch!

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Happy arts and crafts-ing!

 

~Hannah ❤

 

*When you put something like a nail or screw through that wood, it is going to stick out the other side. That’s not okay. You will have to cut it off. There are a variety of ways that could get that job done. I’m assuming that if you have the means to build this sign, you have the means to cut off those pointy screws. If not, a quick internet search will give you the help you need!

 

The Texas Hill Country

A broad look at the gorgeous Hill Country.

CANVA Texas Hill Country

The Hill Country is the part of Texas I think everyone comes to see. The rolling hills, the breathtaking rock, blue skies, clear rivers, and blanketing bluebonnets are enough to make anyone want to drop everything and move here. Hell, I did. I moved here to go to college, but when I would question my choice of university and start looking somewhere else, the Hill Country kept me from leaving. In today’s post, I’m going to highlight just a few of my favorite places in the Texas Hill Country, but it is not, by any means, an exhaustive list.

 

Austin

Austin is known for so many things: the Capitol, Sixth Street, UT, Austin City Limits, South by Southwest, Circuit of the Americas, and more that I’m probably forgetting. So many people come here, too, because of how “weird” it is by reputation.

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Me at Jo’s Coffee on SoCo.

There’s more to Austin, though, than Sixth and Keepin’ it Weird. In fact, those are personally my least favorite things about it.

If you were to come to Austin, here’s where I’d send you:

Nutty Brown Cafe

I love the Nut so much. It’s easily my favorite music venue, and I’m sure they have great food, too (disclosure: I haven’t actually eaten there). I have been a couple of times for musical performances, once for the We Are Blood charity concert featuring Wade Bowen, Stoney Larue, and others and again for the Randy Rogers Band. It’s located west of Austin on Highway 290 going towards Dripping Springs. You can’t miss the neon cowboy out front! The amphitheater is located behind the restaurant. It has a large standing area that faces the stage and surrounding all of that is a lovely (and welcome in the summer time) grove of trees, tables and chairs of a wooden deck, a gorgeous bar, and sometimes a food truck or two. It’s so intimate, comfortable, welcoming, and fun. They usually feature country artists, both higher profile (like Jake Owen) and beloved Texas Country artists.

 

Pictures I took from the We Are Blood benefit concert, featuring Wade Bowen and Stoney Larue.

Lick Ice Creams

For most people, it’s all about Amy’s. I like Amy’s a lot, but I love Lick. Lick is located on Lamar Boulevard in downtown, and it features a rather unique variety of ice creams. Their ice creams are made mostly with products grown or raised here in Texas and is all natural. In addition (this is my favorite part), the flavors are… different. They’re a little weird, but they are damn good. Some flavors I have gotten have been Pink Peppercorn Lemon Twist, Grapefruit with Champagne Marshmallow, Goat’s Milk with Honey and Thyme, Fromage and Fig, and one with dewberries (I can’t remember the name…). They have their year-round, standard (which aren’t so “standard”) flavors and another set of seasonal flavors, which of course incorporate seasonal ingredients, like the dewberries in the spring. If this doesn’t quite sound your speed, I suggest Holla! Mode which is Thai Style ice cream. If you aren’t familiar with Thai style, then you better get there. It’s so cool. The ice cream makers (usually in a food truck) will mix up your liquidy ingredients and right before you, pour the mixture onto a cold table and start chopping, scraping, and mixing your ice cream until it’s frozen. Then they roll it on up into swirls and stack the swirls up in your bowl.

 

Lick Ice Creams

 

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Holla! Mode ice cream on Barton Springs Road with some pictures from the Greenbelt and Mount Bonnell.

 

The Capitol

This is for the history buffs out there. Lucky for you, if you go anywhere in Texas, you’ll be surrounded by decades of history. After all, we had our own Revolution and were our own country once. Anyway, the Texas State Capitol, is one of the most beautiful buildings in Texas, from the grounds to the Goddess of Liberty on top. They do free tours every half hour or you can do a self-guided tour. Keep an eye out for blond squirrels, as well!

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Greenbelt

If you are an outdoor enthusiast and Lady Bird Lake just doesn’t cut it, take a hike through the Greenbelt. The two entrances I recommend are at Zilker Park (if you’re facing the entrance to Barton Springs, walk to the right-or westward- until you hit the entrance of the trail) or at Loop 360 and Mopac (it’s at the southbound feeder road onto Mopac from 360, where it crosses over Mopac. Instead of going on the ramp to get on southbound Mopac, stay right and go straight. You’ll see cars parked on the side of the road right there.) The Greenbelt’s trails range from easy meandering trails to more difficult ones with rocks and slippery dirt. There’s rock climbing and of course, Barton Creek, with plenty of places to cool off or splash around. Beware the slippery rocks, however.

 

 

Salt Lick (Driftwood)

When it comes to supper time, go big or go home. One of my favorite places that I don’t go to enough is The Salt Lick Barbecue in Driftwood, southwest of Austin. Totally worth the drive. The place is usually hoppin’- a sign of its deliciousness- and has its own vineyard as well as live music outside on the lighted deck. The best part- the food comes out right away. That’s because in the middle of this joint is a massive pit that cooks the barbecue all day long, so as soon as you order, all someone has to do is go cut it and pull it off the pit. And you get so much food.

 

Fredericksburg

This town was my first taste of the Hill Country as a kid. We used to go here when we took my sister to camp. There is so much to do, and it never gets old. You could go back again and again and still have just as much fun.

Enchanted Rock

You can’t go to Fredericksburg and not climb up Enchanted Rock. Basically, it’s a big ass “mountain” of limestone. It’s truly awesome. As you drive closer to it and see it start to rise above the horizon, you really get to develop this appreciation and awe for nature. You won’t feel the same when you’re climbing up its steep sides! Not really. Even when you’re sweating and out of breath, you will still (hopefully) be mesmerized.

 

 

Luckenbach

Ain’t nobody feelin’ no pain out here. Luckenbach is a little bitty town outside of Fredericksburg, and it’s a must. They have the general store, which features weird stuff from the past, t-shirts, and of course, Waylon Jennings’ music. Of course, there’s the dance hall. It isn’t very big, but the hardwood floor and lack of air conditioning put a smile on my face and take me back to what it must have been like decades ago before people lost their minds. There’s live music played in Luckenbach almost every day of the week, too, and they’ve got good food out there to go with it.

 

 

Market Days and Downtown Shopping

I won’t go into the market as much, since I have another post about it.

Downtown, though, is so damn cute. There are shops that go on forever on both sides of the road: boutiques, B&B’s, restaurants, antique shops, and my favorite, Rustlin’ Robs- endless honey butters, jellies, salsas, pickled things, peanut butters, and more, all with free samples. It’s heaven.

German restaurants: Der Lindenbaum and Auslander

Fredericksburg and the surrounding area were heavily settled by German immigrants, and they embrace the culture. Even the street (strasse) names in downtown are in German. The first restaurant listed, Der Lindenbaum on Main Street, is my favorite of the two because it is much more authentic, quaint, quiet, and, well, German. I’m no German expert, but I have been to Germany and ate its food for days, so I like to think I have a little bit of credibility here. Plus, the last time I ate there, my waitress was from Munich. The other restaurant, the Auslander, also on Main Street, is more tourist-y, but I enjoy it all the same. They oftentimes have a live band performing in the bar, and they feature less traditional (but altogether tasty) German cuisine.

 

Frio River

The Frio River is certainly one of my happy places. It runs through southwest/ southwest central Texas (this state is so big I don’t even know how to categorize places), west of San Antonio. It’s a huge vacation place for Gulf-Coasters like myself. I go every year. We get a big house in Concan, Utopia, or somewhere else close to the river and just set out everyday and float. One year we were actually on the Sabinal river, and we got to kayak there as well as float the Frio. The water’s cold, the sun is hot, the grass green, the rocks are big, and the hills are tall. It’s heavenly.

 

There are so many places I could point you, too. Here’s a brief list of some towns I suggest looking into…

 

Bandera

Bandera is not too far east of Utopia, mentioned above. I love Bandera for its cowboy style and cute shops. The Hill Country State Natural Area is one of the best hiking spots (I think) in Texas, and the O.S.T. Restaurant is delicious and hardy, especially for breakfast. It’s not only got great food, but everyone is super nice and friendly and John Wayne is everywhere.

 

 

Boerne

Boerne is another cute little town north of San Antonio. It has a gorgeous, old-fashioned downtown with plenty of shops, including an awesome frozen yogurt place. If you do go to the area, see if you can check into the Ye Kendall Inn– it’s supposedly haunted. I stayed once and didn’t sleep a wink because I was so afraid I’d see someone staring back at me in the mirror that was not me. Nothing happened, but I was not comfortable! If you’re in Boerne, venture to some other nearby towns just to really embrace the Hill Country spirit: Sisterdale, Kendalia, Blanco, Bergheim… there are several dance halls around here, so check those out too!

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My very colorful and delicious frozen yogurt bowl.

 

Wimberly

Wimberly is southwest of Austin, directly west of San Marcos. It, like all the others, is great for shopping and dining. What the others don’t have is one of Texas’ best kept secrets: Jacob’s Well. Jacob’s Well is a natural swimming hole in Cypress Creek. It’s wonderful to see, just to imagine how nature can do such cool things. If you want to take a dip, though, you have to make a reservation. If not, head over to San Marcos and float the San Marcos River.

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Hell, drive down Interstate-35 aways to New Braunfels and you can float the Comal or Guadalupe Rivers. While you’re in New Braunfels, I suggest eating at Clear Springs Restaurant, doing some shopping and dancing in Gruene (home of Texas’ oldest dance hall), and going swimming at Canyon Lake.

 

Llano

I say this for one reason- Cooper’s Barbecue. I drove an hour on my birthday and five and a half hours on my boyfriend’s birthday just for this barbecue because it is that good.

 

 

San Antonio

Okay.. Alamo, Riverwalk… San Antonio has endless things to do. I have not been enough (or at least not that recently) to really give an honest “report” of things in San Antonio, but I love the city all the same. My favorite things are the Alamo, the Riverwalk, and the wax museum (because I’m a nerd).

 

Oh yes, and of course… the endless wineries and distilleries all over the state. Drive down any highway up there long enough and you will come across a vineyard.

I feel like there is something I’m forgetting here… maybe because Texas is just so pretty and fun and big that I can’t possibly capture everything about the Hill Country in one post, but I certainly tried. I hope this can act as a decent guide for someone wanting to get a little adventure in!

Stay adventuring, my friends. Appreciate the little things, eat all the barbecue, buy the junk you don’t need, and smell the bluebonnets. Many blessings!

 

~Hannah ❤

Social Media Update

Pardon me for filling your inboxes so much this week. Usually I only post on Sundays, but this week there’s been so much happening, that this is now the third time I’ve written! Technically, it’s the fourth time, but that post (this exact one) got screwed up during publishing, so if you got an email, ignore it!

I promise this post is short!

Anyway, as I said on Monday, we are now Wildflowers & Charolais! With that comes a lot of changes, including a social media overhaul. I just wanted to keep everyone updated!

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We are on Instagram! Follow us for updates, announcements, Texas travel pictures, new decor and crafts, and looks at the messiness behind creating those things!

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Okay, so a music streaming service isn’t exactly social media, so there isn’t really any important information there. However, like I said above, a great way to get to know someone is by the music they listen to, so give us a listen, maybe a follow, and get to know us better! Who knows, we might even share a favorite song. If not, keep an ear out at our booth at markets and shows.

Here are the links to our playlists, which are always in progress!

~W&C’s Texas Country Sampler

~W&C’s Favorites

~{The Break-up Playlist}

 

As always, you can find all social media and necessary info on our Contact page.

The Evolution

A look at how I took this from Making with Texas to Wildflowers & Charolais.

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Behind the Name

I struggled from the very get-go to come up with a name that accurately represented my business and the things I made. For the last six months or so, I’ve called the blog “Making with Texas” because it made sense in regards to what I do- I make things out of forgotten materials I find around my home state of Texas. Things are made with Texas, you know? When I’d go to markets though, we were just “Handcrafted Home Decor and Accessories,” which was still accurate, but had no charm to it. I didn’t ever sell under “Making with Texas” because I never loved the name. Now I do.

It’s kind of an odd one, I’ll admit. Wildflowers and charolais don’t really have anything to do with one another and seemingly don’t have much to do with what I do, but I think it’s charming and the images brought to mind reflect the theme and style I like to bring out in my designs.

Wildflowers are wild, uncultivated, and beautiful. They grow where they want. They’re all a little different, yet all mean something to someone.

Charolais, which is a cattle breed, are strong, beautiful, and are mostly gentle, unless you mess with them- then you get the horns.

Plus, I mean, “charolais” is a lovely word to say. It just flows off the tongue. I’ve always loved the sound of it.

These characteristics- wildness, doing your own thing, gentle but strong, and of course, owning your own beauty, are things I love and try to embody both in myself and in the things I make. I use raw materials that have all been through hell. Time, weather, and ware have taken their toll, yet they still have a rugged beauty to them that I want to bring out. These things I make are tough, yet functional and (hopefully) beautiful.

Those two icons of Texas- Wildflowers & Charolais- exude that essence.

Logo

Put my Photoshop skills to work!

The skull in the logo is the one I have in my garden. I took a picture of it and then used the outline/sketched version of it as my logo. It’s 100% an original image, so watch it.  

LOGO part 1 skull

part 3 adding flowers

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Website

Of course the website underwent some changes.

Before

After

 

And of course, other changes ensued…

New business cards.

Yes, I do make my own business cards, at least for now. I like to use the things I already have, you know?

Updated social media profile pictures.

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New social media handles and names.

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And more that I’m probably forgetting.

 

It’s been a process, albeit a fun and rewarding one. Thanks to everyone who’s followed along and continues to support me and my fam.

A special thanks to some folks back home who have done wonders for me. I won’t name names for the sake of privacy, but there are several friends and family members that have taken me to new levels: giving me supplies and materials they don’t need or want, giving me creative ideas, buying from me, and sending their own friends in my direction.

And especially I want to thank my Mom and Dad who make things, teach me new skills, and give me so much love. This wouldn’t be possible without them. ❤

~Hannah

Wildflowers & Charolais

Pot Holders

A brief look at how I make pot holders, and you can, too… if you dare try.

How to Sew

I add that “if you dare try” only because this was one of the hardest things I’ve made in my life. It wasn’t necessarily hard, but I, at least, had a tough time with them in the beginning.

I understand why people just buy them!

Despite my struggles, I still enjoy making them and selling them because one, mine are super affordable and two, I like to use fabrics and designs that other stores just don’t use.

 

I like to think of it as making an itty bitty quilt.

I start with two squares of fabric (the size is up to you), though I sometimes try to make one a little bit bigger than the other, so that I can guarantee that I’ll catch both sides of the fabric when I sew.

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I cut a square of special batting (the insulating kind) about the size of the biggest piece of fabric, maybe a little smaller, so that I can see all three layers.

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Then, I layer them, pinning everything in place. First is big fabric square, pretty side down. Then the batting. Lastly, the smaller square of fabric, pretty side up.

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I stitch around the edges first.

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You can stop here or “quilt” a design, even if it’s just straight lines.

Trim it all up.

Lastly, bind it like a quilt. I’m no binding expert, so if that’s something you don’t know how to do, I suggest YouTube or Pinterest!

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Why I thought this was so hard, I don’t know. Writing it out now, it seems so easy!! I felt like that too the first time I read a tutorial.

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I guess that’s why people just buy them instead of make them!

Happy sewing!

 

~Hannah ❤

Quick-and-Easy Heat Vinyl Transfer

One of the shortest, easiest tutorials on how to cut and apply heat vinyl transfer.

Quick & Easy

I have a Cricut, and it is truly my most prized possession. I’ve made so many shirts, stickers, decorations, and school projects with that thing. Before I got it, I was reading so many tutorials on how to do the heat vinyl transfer, and it seemed scary because everyone just went on about it. So today, we’re keeping it simple and hitting the basics.

The design in this tutorial is what I used to make shirts for my best friend’s bachelorette  party. The quote was her idea, and the font is “Affectionately Yours” that I got from DaFont.com.

Make your design and find your vinyl.

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Stick your vinyl on your cutting surface front side down.

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Before you cut, make sure you mirror the image! This ensures that you don’t tear the protective plastic.

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Cut.

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Peel off slowly.

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Fix onto fabric.

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Iron it on thoroughly for about 30 seconds.

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Easy! Quick and easy. So now, go forth and make all the shirts.

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~Hannah